Category: world war ii

Modern reproductions of World War II Italian m…

Modern reproductions of World War II Italian military rations..

for sale at Repro-Rations

reprorations.com

collectorsweekly: The Politics of Prejudice: H…

collectorsweekly:

The Politics of Prejudice: How Passports Rubber-Stamp Our Indifference to Refugees

Panzerbrigade 150 and the war crime Panther …

Panzerbrigade 150 and the war crime Panther

During World War II German commando and postwar soldier of fortune Otto Skorzeny concocted a plan to infiltrate American lines with English speaking German soldiers wearing Allied uniforms and carrying Allied equipment. As part of the plan, called Operation Greif, a tank battalion was created using captured American vehicles who would have been operated by crews wearing American uniforms. Called Panzerbrigade 150, the unit was issued a number of captured American Jeeps, scout cars, trucks, and half-tracks. However they were severely lacking in captured American tanks, being issued only two Sherman tanks that were in poor condition.

As a result, they had to make due with disguising regular German tanks, often by merely repainting the tanks from field grey to olive drab and painting American emblems on them.

For the brigade’s Panther tanks, however, the unit was much more creative. 

A sheet metal shell was welded to the turret and chassis simulating the boxy lines of an American M10 tank destroyer. The shell was made of cheap sheet metal which added no armor value, but only comestic purposes. Of course the American five pointed star was painted on the shell to complete the ruse. 

The disguised Panther was dubbed “the war crime Panther” as the Hague Convention forbids using enemy flags, insignia, uniforms, or symbols of truce for means of deception. That meant that the men of Panzerbrigade 150 and Operation Greif could be legally executed as spies. Many German soldiers that were part of Operation Greif were shot shortly after capture. 

 Operation Greif was carried out in December of 1944 as part of the German offensive that would be known as  the Battle of the Bulge. The mission of Panzerbrigade 150 was to capture a number of bridges crossing the Meuse River using the element of surprise. However other Panzer units failed to link up with the brigade, causing setbacks in timing causing the brigade to lose the element of surprise and thus unable to accomplish it’s mission. As a result, the brigade spent the remainder of the Battle as a regular combat unit, still disguised as American troops and vehicles, causing a number of friendly fire incidents among Allied defenders as a result.

Soviet Tula Arsenal Model 1891/30 PE sniper ri…

Soviet Tula Arsenal Model 1891/30 PE sniper rifle, World War II.

from Rock Island Auctions

Colt Model 1911A1 with sweetheart grips, attri…

Colt Model 1911A1 with sweetheart grips, attributed to Brig. General Guy Drewry, World War II.

from Rock Island Auction Co.

A US soldier keeps watch of a prisoner of war …

A US soldier keeps watch of a prisoner of war camp at Remagen, Germany, during the end of World War II.

What Patton really sounded like — Giving…

What Patton really sounded like — Giving a speech in Los Angeles, 1945.

German MG-34 machine gun, World War II.

German MG-34 machine gun, World War II.

from Rock Island Auction Co.

French MAS 36 paratrooper rifle, World War II.

French MAS 36 paratrooper rifle, World War II.

from Rock Island Auctions

The Soviet 4M GAZ-AAA  In the late 1920’s the…

The Soviet 4M GAZ-AAA 

In the late 1920’s the Soviet Union adopted the GAZ-AAA truck, a six wheeled, 50 horsepower vehicle which was an improved copy of the Ford AAA. The truck served a variety of roles including supply transport, troop transport, gun carrier, and fuel tanker. One of it’s more unique roles was that of mobile anti-aircraft platform. In 1931 the 4M GAZ-AAA was created after being mounted with four Maxim Model 1910/30 machine guns on a 360 degree traversable mount. The M1910/30 was chambered in 7.62x54R and had a firing rate of 600 rounds per minute while being fed from a 250 round belt.

When the 4M GAZ AAA was introduced in 1931 it was certainly sufficient for it’s anti-aircraft role. It’s four machine guns produced more than enough firepower to flick any airplane out of the sky, this being at a time when most military aircraft were comparatively slow and unarmored biplanes. However with World War II came a wide variety of fast and heavily armored aircraft. The 7.62x54R cartridge lacked the range to hit enemy aircraft and the penetrating power to do much damage. It did see use in 1941, often being utilized against enemy infantry. However without any armor it was very vulnerable in combat. The GAZ would later be outfitted with 25mm and 37mm autocannon making it more effective in it’s anti-aircraft role